KUB Freezes the Fees… for Now

KUB Board Also Approves Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Incentive

August 16, 2019
Contact: Kate Tracy, 865-235-1448, [email protected]

Knoxville, Tenn. – Yesterday, the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) previewed a budget forecast that did not include further increases to the basic mandatory charge or fixed fee portion of customers electric bills for at least two years. Currently, customers are paying $19 each month in fixed fees for electricity before they even flip on a light switch. That fee goes up to $20.50 this November under a rate increase the KUB Board approved in 2016. Since the beginning of 2019, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has delivered over 3,000 customer signatures asking KUB to “freeze the fees” after the utility tripled fixed fees over the past decade. High fixed fees contribute to high energy burdens, or the portion of income spent on energy, and tend to hurt customers that use less electricity – particularly low-income and minority households. High fixed fees also reduce customer’s abilities to control their bill and reduce the incentive to use less energy. 

The decision to freeze the fees for the next two years is not final. The KUB Board of Directors will make a final decision on the rates KUB customers will pay for the next three years in May or June of 2020. SACE applauds the KUB Board for not requesting an increase in fees and rates in the near term, but remains cautiously optimistic as KUB has not stated a policy to ensure fixed fees only reflect fixed costs in the future. 

Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy noted, “We welcome the fact that KUB has stated an intention to stop increasing the regressive fixed fees for the next few years, this is a step in the right direction for KUB and we are hopeful that KUB leadership has been listening to customer concerns. Energy consumption rates may appear low, yet fixed fees are high and that leads to higher bills for Knoxvillians. These high fixed fees prevent customers from controlling their monthly electric bill and disincentives energy conservation. We hope that any future increases on customers bills will be on the usage portion of the bill, as opposed to the fixed portion.”

The KUB Board also approved a program to provide customers a $400 rebate for installing an electric vehicle charger at their house. 

Smith continued, “We are pleased KUB is interested in becoming a leader in the Valley and for encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles with the introduction of the EV charging station rebate. Electric vehicles emit significantly less greenhouse gas pollution than their gas-powered counterparts, even when accounting for fossil fueled electricity. As utilities like KUB incentivize the adoption of clean transportation, Knoxville will become one step closer to achieving its newly passed carbon reduction goals and promote cleaner, healthier communities.”

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Since 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible energy choices to ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org